Every summer, Rebecca and I review a book. We were thinking about skipping this summer but we've found one. Michelle Morgan's The Girl: Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, And The Birth Of An Unlikely Feminist is the book we will be reviewing. Our reviews will go up Friday or Saturday.
Are you impressed with Kamala Harris? Then I wish I knew you personally because no one I know is impressed with her. I don't know Peter Bolton but he's not impressed and he lays out why at CounterPunch:
The classic example of this is none other than Biden’s former senior running mate Barack Obama. Obama waxed lyrical on the campaign trail with lofty talk of ‘hope and change’. But we all remember how empty these promises turned out to be. Once in office, he largely continued the policies of his predecessor George W. Bush. The list is far too long to exhaustively enumerate here but includes failing to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention center, continuing Bush’s bank bailout program, and escalating the drone assassination program by a factor of ten.
A sordid record in political life and before
And like Obama and Biden, Harris’ progressive credentials are paper thin. Her record both before entering politics and since represents everything that is wrong with the center-right establishment wing of the Democratic Party.
Before standing for elected office, Harris was a public prosecutor and then attorney-general for the state of California. In these roles, she gained notoriety for her ruthless pursuit of so-called law-and-order policies. She supported a law that would lead to the prosecution of parents of truant children, leading to some even facing jail time. She later falsely claimed that this was an “unintended consequence” of the law.
A pillar of mass incarceration
Harris was also instrumental in putting non-violent drug offenders behind bars. She oversaw over 1,900 cannabis-related convictions while San Francisco’s district attorney. Of course, such convictions, which disproportionately impact people of color, are one of the major driving forces behind the phenomenon of mass incarceration. As the Black Agenda Report’s Margaret Kimberley put it: “She did everything in her power to support the mass incarceration system and all of its foundations.”
Astonishingly, Harris admitted during a radio interview that she herself has used cannabis. She now claims to be in favor of cannabis decriminalization. On both counts, this, of course, paints a picture of someone of profoundly poor character who has little sense of fairness and who furthermore demonstrates a willingness to engage in brazenly self-interested double standards.
I'm not impressed with Kamala.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Monday, August 17, 2020. Does Iraq matter in the US, does a virtual political convention matter, an activist is assassinated in Iraq, and much more.
Is Tony Blair a War Criminal? PARLA poses the question as the Democratic War Party kicks off their convention online and as the US press tries to play what's-Iraq-never-heard-of-it?
The war continues, no matter how hard US outlets try to ignore it. What will they do August 20th? That's when Iraq's prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi is due to visit the White House.
In anticipation of that visit, or perhaps to get a few laughs or just to flaunt their stupidity, Aykan Erdemir and Philip Kowalski (NATIONAL INTEREST) offer "Joe Biden Will Be America's Most Pro-Kuridsh President."
First, "Would Be" is the wording they're looking for unless THE NATIONAL INTEREST no longer wants to be seen as objective journalism and instead wants to model themselves after Sibyl The Soothsayer in the film NETWORK. The election will take place in November.
The laughs never end, though. Joe Biden the most pro-Kurdish?
Joe Biden gave lip service to the Kurds as a US senator. As vice-president, when he was tasked with Iraq by Barack, he did nothing to assist the Kurds. He repeatedly ignored their interests and their concerns.
B-b-b-but he had to do what Barack told him!!!!!
Did he? Even after he was no longer vice president? From the September 26, 2017 snapshot:
Yesterday, a historic referendum was held in northern Iraq. Results above from RUDAW, the official results will be released later-- some day two to three days but Susannah George (AP) reports the results are expected this evening. .
RUDAW explained the referendum as follows:
More than five million people are eligible to vote when the people of Kurdistan head to the polls on Monday, September 25, to decide whether they want to leave or stay with Iraq.
With an estimated global population of between 30 and 40 million, the Kurds are one of the largest ethnic groups without a state. Under the post-WWI Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, Kurdish lands were divided between Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
Kurds in all four parts of what is known as Greater Kurdistan have faced persecution, discrimination, and genocide, and have fought at times for greater rights, autonomy, and independence.
In Iraq, Kurds make up 17 to 20 percent of the total population. In the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq, Kurds have had a semi-autonomous government since a no-fly zone was established over their lands in 1991 after the first Gulf War.
The new Iraqi constitution that came into effect in 2005, after the US-led invasion of 2003, recognized the Kurdistan Region as a federal region with its own legislature and armed forces, the Peshmerga. Both Erbil and Baghdad have accused the other of violating the constitution.
The September 25 referendum will take place in Kurdistan of Iraq only, not neighbouring countries.
It's worth noting that this vote was put together in about three months. It's also worth noting that provincial elections were supposed to have taken place throughout Iraq earlier this year, then pushed back to September, then pushed back to next year.
Read the snapshot. Two members of the US Congress bucked the Trump White House and issued statements supporting the Kurds. Where was Joe Biden?
And isn't that kind of the cry throughout his long, long public servant career: Where was Joe Biden?
For those who've forgotten the entire US national security establishment trashed and shamed the Kurds -- that's the US State Dept, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE NEW YORK TIMES, all the official and unofficial elements.
And for what?
A long, overdue non-binding referendum on Kurdish independence.
They rushed to trash the Kurds. They rushed to shame the Kurds. They rushed to hector the Kurds. Where was 'friend' Joe Biden?
The Kurds knew Joe checked out long ago. He lied to them repeatedly. Jalal Talabani looked like the biggest idiot in the world as he held on to the belief that Joe was going to come through on one of his promises -- at least one. He never did.
The Kurds have been betrayed repeatedly by the White House going back to the days of Richard Nixon -- as The Pike Report revealed. This was not by accident, this was by design. For those late to the party, February 16, 1976, The Village Voice published Aaron Latham's "Introduction to the Pike Papers." Latham explained:
In 1972, Dr. Henry Kissinger met with the Shah of Iran, who asked the U.S. to aid the Kurds in their rebellion against Iraq, an enemy of the Shah. Kissinger later presented the proposal to President Nixon who approved what would become a $16 million program. Then John B. Connally, the former Nixon Treasury Secretary, was dispatched to Iran to inform the Shah, one oil man to another.
The committee report charges that: "The President, Dr. Kissinger and the foreign head of state [the Shah] hoped our clients would not prevail. They preferred instead that the insurgents simply continue a level of hostilities sufficient to sap the resources of our ally's neighboring country [Iraq]. The policy was not imparted to our clients, who were encouraged to continue fighting. Even in the context of covert action, ours was a cynical enterprise."
During the Arab-Israeli war, when the Kurds might have been able to strike at a distracted Iraqi government, Kissinger, according to the report, "personally restrained the insurgents from an all-out offensive on the one occasion when such an attack might have been successful."
Then, when Iran resolved its border dispute with Iraq, the U.S. summarily dropped the Kurds. And Iraq, knowing aid would be cut off, launched a search-and-destroy campaign the day after the border agreement was signed.
A high U.S. official later explained to the Pike committee staff: "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work."
That last sentence? THE NATIONAL INTEREST doesn't comprehend it. It leaves their thick head confused.
There's also the fact that Joe Biden became Vice President in January of 2009. What are the KDP and PUK, by the way?
They're political parties in the KRG. The Talabani family controls the PUK and the Barzani family controls the KDP.
While Joe Biden was vice president, these two political parties were also another thing?
Terrorist organization -- according to the US government. Joe Biden, friend of the Kurds, was just fine with that. It wasn't until February 2015 that these designations were finally removed. Grasp that. Joe's friend Jalal Talabani was the president of Iraq from 2005 through 2014 and, that whole time, the US government considered him the head of a terrorist organization.
What a friend they have in Joe.
Blue no matter who? Not for US presidential candidate Joseph Kishore (Socialist Equality Party) who writes:
Whatever reservations they may have over the right-wing character of the Democratic Party and its candidates, the argument goes, this is the only way to get rid of Trump. Everything else must be subordinated to this electoral outcome.
This is hardly the first election in which such “lesser evil” arguments were advanced. In 1988, it was a matter of voting for Dukakis, the right-wing governor from Massachusetts, to finally put an end to the Reagan years. After Dukakis lost to George H.W. Bush, the following election in 1992 became a matter of putting an end to the Bush years by electing Bill Clinton, whose right-wing policies cleared the path for Bush II in 2000. In 2008, the argument became the need to elect Obama, the “candidate of hope and change,” in order to end the disaster produced by Bush II, above all, the war in Iraq.
Obama continued the most right-wing policies of George W. Bush (with whom, by the way, he has established a close personal friendship), including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the overseeing of the Wall Street bailout following the 2008 financial collapse. It was the right-wing policies of Obama and the nomination of Hillary Clinton on the basis of a prowar program, glossed over with identity politics, that created the conditions for the election of Trump in 2016.
This act, in other words, has been played out before, and each time the result is a further shift to the right of the entire political establishment.
In this case, amidst all the hoopla over the “historic” character of the Biden-Harris ticket, attributed entirely to the race and gender of Harris, the nominees have been selected through the machinations of the Democratic Party against the candidacy of Bernie Sanders and even Elizabeth Warren.
That is, the Democratic Party’s campaign is founded on a repudiation of any suggestion that it will carry out a policy of social reform. The Democrats are not even making the pretense of providing a program to address the catastrophe unfolding in the United States.
Bill Glauber (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINAL) tries to create interest in the online DNC convention by noting the following will be performing: Billie Eilish, John Legend, Common, The Chicks, Leon Bridges, Jennifer Hudson, Billy Porter, Maggie Rogers, Prince Royce and Stephen Stills.
What an unimpressive line up. Removed Jennifer Hudson and Common and what's the point? Billie is not a live performer (so the virtual convention may actually benefit her). The Chicks? Their career is over. And should be, I say that as a friend of Adrian Pasdar. 'B-b-b-but their new album debuted at number three!' A few weeks later, where's that album? At number 54. No one's buying it, no one gives a damn. It's seen as the desperation move it is, Natalie's solo career flopped so she decided to try to reform the Dixie Chicks -- now called the Chicks, though they're too long in the tooth to be considered to be considered baby chicks.
The group did 'bravery' in 2003. A weak and ad libbed remark from Natalie on a British stage which was quickly followed by trashing themselves and begging for mercy. Only after it was clear that wasn't going to work did they find enough spine to stand up for themselves. And Natalie never talked Iraq again? The Iraqi people have never been a concern of hers, have they?
They suffer but she didn't give a damn, did she? All the years after, 'political' Natalie has had nothing to say in defense of the people of Iraq.
Save The Iraqi people posted the above video on Saturday and noted:
Tahseen Oussama was shot 20 times at his internet service company in the
city's al-Junaina neighbourhood by "militia" gunmen, according to local
media outlet Basra Today. The identity and affiliation of the perpetrators has not been confirmed.
Oussama had taken part in anti-establishment and anti-corruption protests in Basra that had spread from Baghdad across the country in October of last year. He was a vocal critic of both the government and of militias accused of killing protesters with impunity.
On July 6, the day of Iraqi security analyst Husham al-Hashimi's assassination – largely suspected to have been conducted by Shiite militants – Oussama took to Facebook to warn “we will all be slaughtered in the Islamic way one day,” sharing a photo of a gun and its silencer.
Iraqi activists have been warning of an increasingly threatening environment for those who speak out against the country's current political order. Data provided to Rudaw English from the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) last month put the number of protesters and aligned activists killed between October 1, 2019 and March 17, 2020 at 22.
Let's note some reactions to the assassinations. Kazthoomy Tweets:
The following sites updated: